smoking workplace wellness

Study: Following Tobacco Control Measures Leads to Lower Smoking Rates

The dangers — and extreme numbers of death and illness — from smoking are well known.

The Lancet reports that “Tobacco use is the single greatest preventable cause of death in the world. Globally, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year and is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death. Moreover, global tobacco use exerts an extraordinary toll on economic wellbeing, causing more than US$1 trillion in health-care costs and lost productivity annually.”

But MedPage reports that countries that follow the WHO Tobacco Control see a “lower smoking prevalence.”

The Lancet study is titled “Implementation of key demand-reduction measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and change in smoking prevalence in 126 countries: an association study.”

The study concludes that focusing on straight forward measures — many of which are included in well-run workplace wellness programs — cuts smoking rates.

It states: “Between 2007 and 2014, there was a significant increase in the proportion of countries that implemented each of the five key measures of the WHO FCTC at the highest level. This was consistent with the WHO FCTC Impact Assessment Expert Group’s conclusion that the WHO FCTC has increased implementation of strong tobacco control measures. Additionally, increases in the number of highest-level implementations between 2007 and 2014 were associated with significantly greater reductions in smoking prevalence over the WHO FCTC’s first decade.”

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control measures include:

  • Implementation of tobacco taxes
  • Smoke-free public spaces
  • Warning labels on tobacco packaging
  • Comprehensive advertising bans
  • Support for stop smoking services

The results, as reported in The Lancet, while perhaps coming more slowly than they could be, are straightforward: “Implementation of key WHO FCTC demand-reduction measures is significantly associated with lower smoking prevalence, with anticipated future reductions in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.”